Hot on the heels of Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) is Microsoft’s Azure. While not has large as AWS, Microsoft’s budding thought child serves as an ideal cloud solution to those completely addicted to Microsoft’s services. In 2017, Gartner named Microsoft Azure as a leader in the cloud infrastructure-as-a-service space. While Microsoft is quick to stroke its own ego, what are the real advantages and disadvantages of signing up for Microsoft Azure? At MetrixData 360, we want your experience in the cloud to be as pain-free as possible and we have helped many of our clients turn that goal into a reality, so in this article we’ll dive into a detailed picture of what it will actually be like to move to Azure.

Microsoft Azure Pros

High Availablility and Uptime

While Microsoft is not as large as AWS, Azure still is the second largest cloud platform in the industry today, with datacenters found in several different regions, making it ideal for international businesses. Although it should be noted that Azure is not available in every country, and although Azure will only store your data in regions where you permit it to be stored, you need to make sure that you pick a region where your data is allowed to be hosted. Azure also promises a 99.995% uptime rate — an impressive accomplishment in the Cloud Industry.

Flexibility

Moving to the cloud can be an expensive experience, so it is important for businesses to make the most of their cloud platform once they are there. This flexibility is important, as it will enable you to scale up your projects as your business continues to grow. Azure proves to be an easily scalable platform and barely a few clicks of a button will get you the additional licenses you may need. Imagine being able to scale down your software environment over the weekend or scaling up only for your busiest days of the year. Microsoft on-prem licensing can often prove quite difficult to remove licenses from, particularly the Enterprise Agreement (EA), which makes the easy adjustability of the Azure solutions a breath of fresh air, especially in this time of unpredictability.

Security

One of the most appealing features that Azure has to offer its clients is a state of the art security system following a ADADSC approach: Detect, Assess, Diagnose, Stabilize, and Close. They have proven to be the leading force in IaaS security and have received multiple compliance certifications for their high standards. Their security features are both reliable and user-friendly with protections like multi-factor authentication and password requirements.

Cons of Microsoft Azure

Complexity

As a SaaS platform, Azure can easily become an extremely complicated environment for larger companies. Before the cloud, there was an extremely rigorous process when it came to purchasing more licenses, usually in the form of a negotiation or a contract renewal. On the other hand, with the cloud it is easy to purchase new products; all you need is a company credit card and an afternoon. Many companies do not have any sort of processes to regulate the spending of employees when confronted with their cloud platform. It will require management and strict processes to make sure purchasing is controlled, environments are well managed, and projects are closed after they have reached their conclusion. For larger companies, it will be worth investigating a SaaS management solution, along with someone specially trained to manage your Azure platform.

Data Transfer

Azure services are all subject to data transfer fees that are often the cause of stacked hidden fees. This is not unique to Azure as all of the large cloud services like AWS and Google do this same gouging of their customer base. This separate fee for in and out data can prove quite costly for large companies, so you should be aware of this to avoid any surprises.

Support

Despite their high-quality products and global reach, Microsoft is not very good at dealing with the sheer volume of their customers and treating each customer as a unique individual. Anyone who has tried to get Microsoft’s attention would be able to tell you that. However, as a cloud service provider, that is one thing that Microsoft will have to do on a regular basis as companies run into technical issues and server problems that must be handled quickly. To answer this, Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider Program (CSP) allows companies to experience better customer service.

Complicated Pricing

Controlling cost in Azure can be a daunting task that warrants its own book; however, touching briefly on the subject, Azure solutions are structured to encompass many stand-alone services. Each service also has complimentary services that are needed to run the services that you are after. For instance, simply wanting an application and a database will also require you to purchase some form of storage and networking. In addition, you must also consider additional fees such as transfer costs and backups which can act as sneaky hidden fees.

As such, building your unique Azure solution involves combining these multiple factors based on your preference, which means calculating your exact price can be difficult.

In an attempt to make things easier, Microsoft has a universal pricing metric based on the hourly rate, so estimating cost comes down to estimating how long you will be using each service. If you want to figure out cost, you should seek to understand the full scope of the services that you will consume in order to effectively calculate how much each service will cost. However, if you have multiple services running at once, each with their own pricing, it is easy to understand how such a task can quickly get away from you.

Getting Your Azure Spending Under Control

Moving to the Cloud can be a new and exciting time, and it is important that you have a strong understanding of what you need and how it will be used in order to create a unique solution that best suits the needs of your business. This will keep your cost at a minimum and your performance at its highest. At MetrixData 360, We specialize in assisting companies who wish to lower their cloud spending through license optimization practices. For more information on how MetrixData 360 as helps many of its clients successfully migrate to the cloud you can check out our cloud service page.

Get in Touch with an Azure Expert Today

About Mike Austin

Mike AustinMike Austin is the CEO and team lead here at MetrixData 360. Mike brings more than 15 years of Microsoft licensing experience to his clients’ projects. He assists companies with negotiations of Microsoft Enterprise Agreements (EA), Premier Support Contracts, and Select Agreements, from Fortune 500 to organizations with as few as 500 employees. Mike's vast experience across multiple industries including financial services, high tech, manufacturing, media, health care, government, and retail give him an edge in any business environment. In addition to helping negotiate contracts, he assists clients with creating and implementing software asset management processes to prevent over-purchasing of licenses and ensures terms and conditions reflect actual usage.